Fifty Shades Of Hate

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A he said, she said review of the best selling novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey.

He said…,

Quite frankly, it is embarrassing to admit you have read 50 Shades of Grey as a male. Even if you say you read it before the hype and had no idea what you were getting into, most people will not accept that for an excuse.

By Joel Preston

Fifty Shades of Grey is not a book for men. Its entire being revolves around the fulfillment of a primarily female fantasy.

A young girl gets swept off of her feet by a handsome billionaire who, mind you, has more issues than you can poke a stick at, and then she has to deal with the fact that he is a bit of a nutcase.

Would I ever re-read Fifty Shades or read its sequels? No. Does the novel deserve the negative stigma that is wrapped around it? That is a difficult question to answer.

As far as I am aware, I am the only guy in my group I know who has read the book. A lot of my female friends have read it and either love it or hate it – there isn’t an obvious middle ground.

Mummy porn

The Internet dubbed the book as ‘mummy porn’. I don’t particularly know why, but if middle-aged housewives get a thrill out of reading the book I’d hope they’d keep it to themselves.

Fifty Shades started as Twilight fan fiction. I have never read Twilight but I believe that fan fiction can only be worse than it’s source material, and I haven’t heard great things about Twilight.

Taken entirely on the novel’s literary merits, there is no better way to describe Anastasia Steele’s love story than bloody awful. If you had any other expectations of the book, then I would go out on a limb and guess you don’t read much.

This novel isn’t successful because it’s good. It is successful because it made readable porn mainstream. People only buy it because they want to read the sex scenes, and as the old law of entertainment still goes, sex sells.

After the first couple of sex scenes I ended skipping them because they were awkward to read and they didn’t move the plot forward at all. Give me fast-paced Matthew Rielly-esque action scenes over pages and pages of what these two people get up to in bathtubs and sex-slave dungeons any day.

I went into the novel knowing full well that it would be bad and its primary objective was to sell sex in book form, and I can appreciate the novel for what it is.

Dislikeable characters

After discovering the ‘mummy porn’ genre really wasn’t for me, which wasn’t surprising in the least, I realised what I particularly didn’t like about the book were the characters.

Warning – there may be spoilers ahead, although I am still not entirely sure if the book even has much of a plot to spoil anyway.

The main character is a girl called Anastasia Steele, who has never found a guy that is good enough for her. It is ironic because her mother obviously ‘gets around’ and is on her fifth husband or something.

She meets a young billionaire called Christian Grey, who is intent on saving the world by feeding the poor. Mr Grey has childhood issues which aren’t revealed in the book, but basically he doesn’t form relationships with women.

He makes them sign a contract; they become his sex slave for a while and then they go their own separate ways when one of the two parties gives up on the endeavor. Mr Grey turns Anastasia into his sex slave and she has issues with it. That is basically the plot.

The story is told from Anastasia Steele’s perspective. She uses several personalities of her own creation to express her feelings, including her ‘inner goddess’ and her ‘sex’. Whenever these two ‘characters’ are mentioned I’d recommending skipping a few lines ahead.

Anastasia has crippling self-confidence issues, has difficulty understanding the obvious situations she has put herself in and is a borderline anorexic. I’ll make a side note and mention that her problems eating a decent meal is one of the most frustrating things about the character.

Friend zoning the good guy

Anastasia has a friend called Jose, who is a walking stereotype, whom she has ‘friend zoned’. All guys know what friend zoning is. For those who don’t, it’s when a female has a good male friend in her life that wishes to be in a relationship with said female. The girl however uses the guy as a shoulder to cry on and complain to about how she only ever meets bad guys and says things like ‘why can’t more guys be like you?’.

In the book, Jose is in that position but Anastasia won’t give him a chance because she has never felt ‘that way’ about any guy until the billionaire came along. When he arrives, she is all over him. And to be fair, it isn’t like she has an instant connection with Mr Grey. They have a couple of awkward meetings and he saves her from being hit by a cyclist (still not that big of a deal from my perspective). I think if poor old Jose had done the same as Mr Grey, he still would have been in the same position.

Irrelevant issues

Anastasia is an all-round unlikeable character. She manages to have everything she wants handed to her and the reader still has to spend half of the time reading about how she is upset, or confused.

Mr Grey is not a cryptic character; he makes everything painfully blunt to her. I found Anastasia to have issues for issue’s sake, and there is nothing more annoying in a main character than that.

At one point in the book, a big problem occurs at Mr Grey’s work and I thought, “Here we go, finally something interesting is going to happen”. And after a bit of build up, whatever the problem was is ignored and you go back to Anastasia thinking about something entirely irrelevant.

At this point, I wanted to stop reading altogether, but I was pretty much at the end and I had made a promise that I would read the book.

Should you read it?

I am a 20-something male and I certainly am not a part of the target demographic for the novel. There is no way for me to be able to relate to any of the characters. I’m not rich, I’m not over-analyzing everything in my life and I can eat a decent plate of food.

So, if you want to read a book with very graphic sex scenes, then buy Fifty Shades of Grey and go nuts. However, if you want to read a novel with a good plot and well-developed characters, read something else.

Fifty Shades of Grey won’t suit everyone’s tastes, and for any guys who have read this far, I recommend avoiding it.

She said…

Never before in my life has it been a physical struggle to finish a book than when I had the unfortunate pleasure to pick up a novel called Fifty Shades of Grey. Where to begin?

By Hanna McGovern

Let’s face it, grey isn’t a very exciting colour. It’s not as pure as white or absolute as black – it’s just in the middle. It’s so bland.

This about describes the whole book itself. The plot line is as thick as watered down cordial and as original as nicknaming someone called William, Will.

It has no redeeming value to anyone other than housewives who are looking for more of a thrill than leaning against the washing machine before the kids get home.

It follows the story of a girl with low self-esteem who falls for a ‘sex-god’ who then, in a spectacular and highly predictable turn of events, falls for her too.

What follows is a sex-charged struggle between the two where he tries to convince her to become his ‘submissive’. If you don’t understand, you don’t want to know. It is essentially the adult version of Twilight.

Both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are poorly written, underwhelmingly unoriginal yet vastly popular. If you took out every mention of vampires and werewolves from Twilight and replaced it with bondage inspired sex scenes, you would have Fifty Shades of Grey.

Funnily enough, the author E. L. James writes Twilight fan fiction, which is what Fifty Shades morphed from. She describes the novel as her midlife crisis, containing all her fantasies.

It worries me that Mr Christian Grey can be someone’s fantasy. He’s a man who prides himself on being emotionally scarred and who essentially gets his kicks from beating women.

Another interesting habit of Mr Grey is he always seems to have a condom in his pocket. At a restaurant, in his office studying or at his parent’s house, he always has a rubber at the ready. Arrogant or safe, you decide.

The main character Anastasia is flawed by his extravagant gifts and stalker tendencies. If having someone you’ve only just met track you through your phone’s GPS to essentially kidnap you from a bar isn’t romantic, then I don’t know what is these day.

Another strange quirk is their love of emails. If not talking face to face, the pair converse exclusively through the internet. Not saying email is bad, I find it quite handy for university or finding out when there are sales on at ASOS, but for trying to court someone? Maybe not. If someone actually approached me at a bar and asked for my email I would laugh in their face.

The last thing that drives me insane is Ana and her ‘inner goddess’. After reading this book, if I ever have to see the words ‘my inner goddess’ again, I may just scream. “My inner goddess pirouettes like a prima ballerina”. “My inner goddess cheers with her pom poms”. A 21 year old should not be envisioning an ‘inner goddess’. Besides, all I imagine is that cartoon from Lizzie Maguire.

The strange thing is that this book is socially acceptable. People seem to easily turn a blind eye to the fact it contains graphic sex scenes where people are bound and spanked, and a place called the ‘Red Room of Pain’, but I’ll let you research that yourself.

A woman can sit in the park reading this book and no one would bat an eyelash. I mean it’s just a book, isn’t it? However, if a man were to sit in a park watching soft-core porn on his phone, there would be lawsuits. But it’s just a video, isn’t it?

I understand there’s a difference but what is written in that book is not for the faint hearted. A number of times while reading the book I physically had to put it down and rest my head in my hands, questioning why I was still reading.

It is cheesier than a souffle de fromage and I simply couldn’t read past the first book. I have been told it gets better during the other two books, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, but I simply cannot bring myself to try.

I would be fifty shades of black and blue after beating myself up to read them.